Have we forgotten how to make simple prayers that God hears?
When I was in university, I had this knack of making simple prayers in sentence form (most of the time it was a single sentence), which were always answered. For some reason, a friend of mine would keep track of those prayers, and whenever there was a need, she would ask me to make one of my prayers. I didn’t think much about those ‘sentence’ prayers until recently when the short sentences became paragraphs of unanswered prayers.
What changed? Did I forget how to make simple prayers that God hears? Or did I forget what lies behind a simple prayer? As I pondered on this topic, the following thoughts came to mind.
• Simple prayers are backed by faith
Mark 11: 24 “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you’ve received it, it will be yours.” (NLT)
Anything? Really? Yes! As long as you believe that God is able to answer your prayer according to his will, you will receive it. If, however, you decide to take the position of fear and doubt, you will not receive what God has for you.
What kind of faith are we talking about here? We are talking about faith in a God who knows what’s best for us, who knows our needs before we ask, who knows us better than we know ourselves, and who loves us more than we could ever imagine. As we pray, we must believe that God is able to answer us and that he will answer us, subject to his perfect will.
Matthew 21:22 “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” (NIV)
• Simple prayers display confidence in God
1 John 5:14 “And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him.” (NLT)
Have you ever seen a little child ask his parents for a sweet? He looks into their eyes confidently, knowing that because they love him, they will give him what he asks for. The little guy has such great confidence in his parents to the point that even if they substitute the sweet with his favorite fruit, he accepts it gladly and gratefully.
In contrast, many of us approach God half-heartedly, not sure that he will answer us when we pray, and not willing to accept whatever answer he has for us.
The search for a marriage partner provides the perfect example of this. When I went to college, there was pressure to ‘hook’ up with someone before graduation, so that after graduation, we would not have to start searching for marriage partners out there! Because I (and many of my friends) were under pressure, I would pray, yes, but I would also keep my eyes open for any advances and gestures that were likely to suggest that a relationship was probable. I left college without finding a partner, so the search extended to my local church. Once again, I would pray with one eye open, and I would constantly give God suggestions on who to send my way. In the end, however, God decided that none of my suggestions were suitable, and he instead sent his perfect choice my way. Interestingly, as the wait for a marriage partner became longer and longer, my prayers changed from “Lord, maybe that guy is the person you are sending my way” to “Lord, I leave everything in your hands – I am confident that you are able to sort this out in your own time!”
Are you asking God for something, but still keeping one eye open just in case you see the answer before he does? Maybe it’s time to keep your eyes shut as you pray so that you can shift your confidence to the Lord.
• Simple prayers focus on God
James 1:6 “But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind.” (NLT)
Wait a minute – I’m a Christian! How can you possibly think that my loyalty is divided?
Remember this phrase, “God helps those who help themselves?”
The current traffic police crackdown got me thinking about how we Christians may be forced to ‘help ourselves’ out of tricky situations. Imagine a situation where you are rushing to work, and you happen to be stopped at a roadblock. You stop confidently, knowing that all is well, only for the policeman to discover that your brake lights are not working. What would you do in such an instance – ‘help yourself’ out of this fix, or look to God for his help? Food for thought…
I believe that we should always look to God alone for help, no matter how difficult the circumstance. Divided loyalty is an indication that we do not understand how powerful God is, how much he loves us, and how much he desires to meet our needs. Divided loyalty causes us to be unsettled because we are not sure how things will work out, whereas if we trust God completely, we can relax knowing that he is willing and able to take care of everything.
Dear friends, as you pray, remember to have faith that God will answer you, be confident that his answer will be the best for you, and keep your focus on him. One last thing – the answer may be yes, no, or wait, but as long as the answer comes from God, your heart will be at peace!
Hi, everyone! I hope you enjoyed this week’s article, and that it inspired you to pray simply – in faith, with confidence and with your eyes fixed on God alone. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic – please share them in the comments section below. Thanks again for reading, and don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family. Have a blessed week!